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Volume 7 No. 149

Marketing and Sponsorship

League Championship side Aston Villa is "looking to up its content game and take advantage of the commercial opportunities of establishing itself as a publisher in its own right," according to Jennifer Faull of THE DRUM. To "lead the charge," the club hired former Discovery and BBC producer Will Radford in April '16 as head of media and content. Prior to joining, Radford spent "nearly a decade at Red Bull Media House during its meteoric rise from drinks maker to a media powerhouse." His plans for Aston Villa’s output are "just as ambitious." He said, "It's about trying to upgrade everything. Villa had become very stale and old school in its approach of just looking after owned channels and not talking to new audiences, where people were having conversations about football." Aston Villa’s path to becoming a respected publisher is following "much the same route as clubs that have gone before it." Though it runs news, features and short videos on its website, it has been "flexing its content-creating abilities" on social media, aiming for an output that Radford said will "expand reach to go viral more often," especially around key moments in the sporting calendar like transfer deadlines but "more frequently on wider issues in the news cycle." Radford: "We've tried to pick up more of what's going on in culture and media to become more of an entertainment brand rather than just a sports brand." Facebook, where 2.5 million fans follow Aston Villa, has been "at the heart of this strategy." But Radford explains that in the last six months, that has "tailed off as a direct result of the platform's algorithm changes." Instagram is where the club is "seeing the most substantial growth and is also proving to be the most effective" (THE DRUM, 10/11).

National Rugby League side Canterbury Bulldogs' new back-of-jersey sponsor insists the way Canterbury's management handled the "Mad Monday fallout" helped convince it to "turn the sponsorship tide at the club," according to Adam Pengilly of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Having already been told by backers Jaycar and Wicked Sister that they "intend to wind up their support of the club," the Bulldogs "snared a coup," with nationwide firm Ultimate Security signing a three-year deal to be branded across the back of Canterbury's jersey from next year. The company, which was started by twin brothers Nassim and Nabil Said, who first worked as security guards, "has a presence in every Australian state bar the Northern Territory and holds contracts with government agencies and Harvey Norman." It "had no qualms" about approaching the Bulldogs despite the NRL "slapping" the club with a A$125,000 ($88,850) fine over its Mad Monday celebration. Ultimate Security CEO Nassim Said: "We were not hesitant to join the Bulldogs after Mad Monday. We discussed it with the management and we were very happy with the way they handled it. We have a lot of faith and belief in the management moving forward, hence we associated our name with the Bulldogs" (SMH, 10/12).

Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais extended its sponsorship deal with Samsic through ’24. The company’s logo will continue to be featured on the front of the club’s jersey. Samsic has been a club partner since ’04 (Stade Rennais).

The French Tennis Federation confirmed Audi as a new partner of the ATP Paris Masters tournament. Audi takes over for Peugeot as the event’s official car provider, and will provide 37 vehicles for tournament staff (SPORTBUZZ BUSINESS, 10/12).

The Circuit Paul Ricard announced Richard Mille as its official watch brand. The circuit, which hosted the Formula 1 French Grand Prix this year, will feature the Richard Mille brand on big screens and circuit vehicles as well as in media and VIP areas. However, during the next F1 GP at the circuit, the Richard Mille brand will be replaced by Rolex, the official watch brand of F1 (SPORTBUZZ BUSINESS, 10/12).

The British Masters "faces an uncertain future" as the European Tour struggles to find a title sponsor. The £3M ($3.9M) event, being staged this week at Walton Heath, is supported by Sky Sports but the four-year deal with the broadcaster comes to an end this year. The tournament returned to the European Tour in '15 after a six-year absence, "with a quartet of Britain's top players acting as its hosts" (London EVENING STANDARD, 10/13).

European Professional Club Rugby announced the Financial Times as an official supporter of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup through the '21-22 season. The global business publication enhances EPCR's existing suite of partners, which includes Tissot and Heineken (EPCR).

EuroLeague Basketball announced online gaming company BetVictor as the league's official betting partner in Germany until '20 (EuroLeague).

Cloud platform GoDaddy, granola bar maker Nature Valley, Oakley and Tata Motors "are the latest to join the sponsorship roster" of the Delhi Half Marathon. Besides the quartet of new sponsors, the Delhi Half Marathon will be backed by Airtel, Puma, Star Sports, Jabong, Bisleri, Volini, Seiko, ORSL, Le Meridien, The Times of India, 98.3 Radio Mirchi and Max Healthcare. This year's event will take place on Oct. 21 (ASIA SPONSORSHIP NEWS, 10/12).

Man City announced a collaboration with esports organization Epsilon to compete in the fourth season of the Gfinity Elite Series. Man City will compete in the FIFA 19 category (Man City).

Bundesliga side RB Leipzig extended its partnership with the Leipziger Gruppe, a public services body based in the city. The deal, which will last for another three years, extends a partnership that was formed in '16. The Leipziger Gruppe will be given advertising space at the Red Bull Arena and "run promotional campaigns throughout the duration of the deal" (SOCCEREX, 10/12).

Chinese esports organization Newbee signed a sponsorship deal with Intel. Details of the agreement were not disclosed (THE ESPORTS OBSERVER, 10/12).
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